While figuring out how to get softer lips is often a year-round type of beauty concern, there’s no time quite like winter that has everyone scrambling for their lip balm and reaching for that sugar scrub.
It’s simple science: The colder temperatures and lack of moisture in the air can cause chapped, cracked, and flaking lips, due to ultra-thin lip skin sensitivity to these factors. But there’s a behavioral or lifestyle aspect to dry and chapped lips, as well:
- You may be licking your dry lips more than usual, which makes them even drier in the long run.
- Seasonal colds and allergies may be causing nasal congestion, which could have you breathing through your mouth more. This habit can also contribute to dry and cracked lips.
- The cold weather might have you drinking less water since you don’t feel as thirsty. Dehydration is a major factor in chapped lips.1
An often-overlooked fact is that lip skin needs the same TLC as the rest of our facial and body skin, if not more, because of how thin and sensitive the area is. Excessive exposure to the sun and harsh skin care products (like some ingredients in acne medications) could also contribute to the accumulation of dead and dry skin cells on the lips, giving them that cracked or chapped appearance and feel.2
But with that being said, there’s nothing stopping you from getting your soft, kissable lips back. Here’s a comprehensive guide to weather-proofing your pout.
Getting Winter-Proof Luscious Lips: Level Up Your Moisturizing Game
Your best bet is to keep swiping on a moisturizing lip product consistently throughout the day, to lock in moisture and address any signs of dryness.
Now is the time to really check the ingredients label on your lip balm. What you’re looking for are actives that can truly hydrate and moisturize the lips. Shea butter, white petrolatum, and beeswax are popular and effective ingredients in both drugstore and high-end lip care products alike.3
You can also get a head start on your smooth lips gameplan by applying a good moisturizing lip balm before sleeping. This can help give you soft and full lips.
If swiping on any plain old balm is too basic for you, here are a couple more things to consider: SPF and hyaluronic acid.
Consider choosing a daytime lip product that not only moisturizes but also provides a degree of sun protection that can help prevent your lips from drying out and cracking.
Hyaluronic acid, on the other hand, is a mega-moisturizing, popular skin care ingredient that’s slowly making its way into lip balms. It can hydrate and smoothen your kisser, and might also give the illusion of fuller lips, too.4
Should You Scrub To Help Remove Flakiness?
As tempting as it is to pick at those unsightly scabs and flakes, it’s probably best to hold off on any invasive scrubs until you’ve given your lip balms a chance to really hydrate your lips.
If the scaliness persists, you can consider a gentle, natural sugar scrub to lightly exfoliate the surface of the lips. By gently scrubbing you can remove some of the dead skin without removing any unnecessary layers of skin and potentially causing further damage to your lips.
Be prepared with a heavy-duty lip hydrating product afterward, as lip skin is sure to be even more raw and vulnerable. Consider using a salve or balm with vitamin E or almond oil, which may help with swelling and seal in moisture.5
More Tips And Tricks To Score Smooth And Kissable Lips
Some of your regular beauty habits might actually be adding to your dry-lip dilemmas. Here are some tips and tricks you can try to help heal your lips:
- Swap your lip ingredients containing fragrances and flavorings, especially those with “cooling” properties like peppermint and camphor. These may irritate the lip area even more, causing further dryness.
- Switch to hypoallergenic lip care products.
- Drink more water.
- Leave a humidifier on in your bedroom at night to help restore the moisture in the air. This can help counteract the effects of you breathing through your mouth as you sleep.
- Nix habits like biting a pen, holding pins in your lip, and even consider removing your lip piercing. Metal making contact with already-sore lips may make matters even worse.6
Bonus: Homemade Lip Balm Recipe
If you’re eager to mix up your own homemade lip products (or just don’t trust ones with unpronounceable ingredients), here is a simple DIY you can try featuring all-natural stuff. However, always remember to choose the best quality ingredients you can find and afford.
Homemade Lip Balm
- ¼ cup neutral oil (like sweet almond or coconut)
- ¼ cup butter (shea or cocoa)
- Enough wax to make ¾ cup total when melted (soy or beeswax)
- Optional: essential oils for scent
- Combine oil and shea butter in a small glass mixing or measuring cup and microwave until melted and smooth.
- Measure out wax and add to the mixture so you make a total of ¾ cup. Take your time and handle the hot glass with care to get the proportions exactly right.
- Remove from heat and mix with a stainless steel spatula or spoon until well-combined. Take a bit of the balm mixture out with the spoon and air-dry until cool and hard. Touch and determine if it’s the right texture for your preference. If too soft, add more wax. Too hard? Add a few drops more oil.
- Add a few drops of essential oil, if using.
- Pour mixture carefully into clean lip balm tins or tubes. You can purchase these online or from craft stores. (Pro tip: This recipe yields about 8 traditional lip balm tubes, so why not gift the extras to your friends and family?)7
Chapped Lips: When To See A Doctor
A good regimen and these positive habits should help relieve dry and chapped lips in the winter within a couple of weeks. But if you experience chronically dry and scaly lips, or feel the condition is worsening with the development of blisters or mouth sores, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your primary care physician or dermatologist. A professional will be able to rule out any allergies or skin conditions.
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